We have all driven through Indian villages and seen the poverty. But we’ve also seen the spirit and resilience. We see village kids playing soccer, handball, and basketball in make-up soccer fields or basketball courts.
Many of these kids have dreams which we fail to realize. These poor people just don’t have the same opportunities. One thing is sure, they rise from these difficulties.
SATNAM SINGH BHAMARA AKA CHHOTU
One among them is Satnam Singh Bhamara, a 22-year-old Indian who was called up by the NBA, the American Basketball Association, to play for them. Bhamara goes under the nickname ‘Chhotu’ regardless of his height of 7 foot 2 inches tall! He used to tower over everyone he played in his village and then in Mumbai.
Chhotu comes from the village of Baloke in Punjab. He was always one of the tallest kids in the village. His incredibly tall dad also played basketball just like Satnam.
However, his father couldn’t play professionally, but he wanted to ensure that at least his kid should get a good opportunity. As a matter of fact, he made a makeshift court for Chhotu who soon showed his talent.
SATNAM SINGH DRAFTED INTO THE NBA
Chhtotu played, had fun, and focussed on training well. At the age of 14, with his shoe size 18, he joined the Ludhiana Basketball Academy in Punjab.
The rest is history, he played for the Indian youth national team, he played all around Asia, and then he was discovered by the NBA. They came to the Academy to look for talent and they discovered Chhotu.
Of course, the NBA called him up when they discovered him. A dream came true and Chhotu played basketball for the NBA. From there, it was a real Basketball Slam and Dunk
Chottu worked on his English simultaneously with his basketball. In fact, he is the first Indian basketball player drafted into the NBA. He was initiated into the Dallas Mavericks, playing the center position.
Chhotu is aware of what an extraordinary opportunity he was given. Of course, he is hugely talented and deserves every minute of his success. It is not often a young village boy is discovered and allowed to follow his dreams.
FIBA 2017 ASIA CHAMPIONSHIPS
And now, at the end of a seven-year amazing dream run, Chhotu returned to India to play basketball in Mumbai. He was a part of the Indian team for the FIBA 2017 Asia Championships.
Not to forget, he is now busy taking selfies with his fans, signing autographs and thanking his family every single day!
Bear in mind, not many people leave the small villages in India where they grow up. As a matter of fact, Chhotu is forever grateful to his dad for giving him the opportunity that he had. And is indeed, thankful for his height! 🏀